About Tonga

Monday, August 30, 2010

To my fellow group 76rs

Hey all-

I created a discussion board for us on the "Future Peace Corps Volunteers" page on Facebook. I hope you all will join. We can talk Tongan to each other for practice =) or, at the very least talk about our preparations! Toki sio!

Thursday, August 26, 2010


After 8 looooooooong (did I mention long?) months of waiting, I finally received my invitation to become a Peace Corps Volunteer teaching English in the Kingdom of Tonga (Pacific Islands)! This is what I find when I sign on to "MyToolkit" (an online thinggy to track PC application status):

Naturally, I had to give my blog a re-vamp, which I've been itching to do and now can because it's for REAL! This is what it looks like to get an invite to join the Peace Corps:

(Hint: I snagged this picture from the Internet, but if I were to lay out my invite it would look exactly the same, and time is precious, so...) A lot of paperwork, to say the least. But, that means a lot more updates to come, so stay tuned! =)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Peace Corps Application Timeline- no easy feat.

Are you sure you're ready for this?...

  • August 2009: Attend Peace Corps Informational Meeting at Central Library. Discover the requirements for the TEFL programs
  • September-December 2009: Volunteer to gain tutoring hours to meet TEFL program requirements. Gather Recommendations and write essays.
  • January 1, 2010: Submit completed application
  • January 11, 2010- "Greetings from Peace Corps!" e-mail from recruiter. The e-mail says the next step is the interview. I e-mail back to discuss the interview. My recruiter just so (luckily) happens to be coming to my campus for a recruiting session on January 26th. He offers to do the interview then so I don't have to travel to Rosslyn. Sweet! I e-mail back a big fat YES please :)
  • January 12, 2010- Receive a confirmation e-mail from my recruiter for my interview, which will be on January 26th at 4:00 pm
  • January 12-26, 2010: Get my fingerprints taken at the local police station and stress out about my upcoming interview!!!
  • January 26, 2010: Meet my fabulous recruiter, Mark. Interview lasts about an hour long, and was super successful! He says I'm a perfect candidate, but that I applied a little too late for a summer 2010 departure *sad face*. He says he will be in touch about possible programs I can get nominated for.
  • February 16, 2010: Mark found me a program! TEFL (teaching english as a foreign langauge) in Eastern Europe, departing late September 2010. GO Mark!!
  • February 24, 2010: I am nominated, mytoolkit is updated! But, with strings. I am told I must get more experience, and have to sign a paper promising I will do so. Assume that I am working toward this goal for now until forever!
  • March 1, 2010: I am mailed my medical kit. ohhhh the medical kit- I shrink in your presence.
  • April 23, 2010: First doctors appointment where I (foolishly, and naively) believe I will complete my medical kit. Instead discover that my insurance doesn't cover a physical that is not school/work related. My doctor suggests I get my shots taken at the on-base clinic, where it's free. Mind you, I still go to school away from home and making doctor appointments back home is not the easiest task. Shots will have to wait until after graduation. Oh, and urinalysis discovers blood and my doctor won't sign my papers without knowing why. So, she is says she is going to recommend a urologist for me to see. Joy.
    • Urologist fiasco of 2010: My doctor sends me a slip in the mail saying that she has made me an appointment with the urologist for June 2. But, I think that is too late because I want to get my medical papers in ASAP. So, I try calling the urologist to make a sooner appointment but none are available. I decide to wait. Then, about a week before the appointment I get a call from the office saying that the doctor won't be in on that day and they want to change the appointment to the next available day-which is June 25th! Oh no! I beg for a sooner date, and finally get seen on June 8th.
      • Urologist appointment 1: pee in a cup, and told I must have a cystoscopy and a CAT scan to find out what is in my body. I am told it could be cancer, could be kidney stones, could be....nothing. I am also told that I won't be able to have these tests done for another 6 weeks, so I get teary eyes and explain my situation. Luckily the nurse takes pity on me and fixes me up with a CAT scan for two days later, and a cystoscopy the following week.
      • Urologist appointment 2: Test results are back. They found a small 1mm kidney stone but say it will pass without notice and clear me for service! By the time this is all complete it is now about the middle of June..sigh!
  • April 30, 2010: Dentist Appointment. Paperwork is all filled out, except the dentist suggests I get my wisdom teeth taken out- so out they must come.
  • May 8, 2010: I GRADUATE COLLEGE! woot!
  • May 10, 2010: Go to the base to get my shots. All done- results will take 2 weeks. The clinic claims they will fax to results to my primary care physician when they return (lies all lies!!)
  • June, 3, 2010: Get wisdom teeth removed and ate nothing but onion soup, mashed potatoes and ICE CREAM for a week!
  • June 16, 2010: Finally finished all urology cr-ap. Now to get those papers signed..so I call my doctor and what else except she's on VACATION! doctors really shouldn't go on vacation. I learn from her nurse that..Oops, dumb navy clinic didn't even fax the shot records over. Call the navy clinic, talk to 2 incompetent people before finally getting a call from my doctor's office saying the records were received and as soon as the doctor gets back on Monday, she will fill out the papers.
  • June 21, 2010: I can go pick up my papers, they are all done! Get them into FedEx and ship them to PC Headquarters!
  • June 23, 2010: Mytoolkit update: results of my medical examination have been received!
  • June 28, 2010: Dental Clearance!
  • July 2, 2010: Received e-mail from Placement telling me that they heard from Medical that I was sent a letter asking me for more information on something regarding my medical review (news to me). I call my Medical Assistant to find out that my medical file hasn't even been assigned to a nurse yet and that the e-mail was a mistake. Phew!
  • July 26, 2010: Receive an e-mail asking me to fill out a skills addendum, which worries me because I was certain my recruiter knew of all my volunteer hours. I call my recruiter to chat-he freaks out and can't understand why I was sent the skills addendum. Apparently I was shifted from one program into something new that requires this new addendum, so he tells me to fill it out and send it to him and forward it to the education desk at placement. The education desk calls to say they received it, and to thank me for sending it, annnnd to clear up any previous misunderstandings. They assure me I am not lost in translation, but that they can't review my file until I am medically cleared.
  • August 7, 2010: Mytoolkit update e-mail! I sign on and see Complete. A decision has been reached regarding your medical review. Please look for a letter in the mail. WHAT does this mean? Am I deferred? Am I not suitable? WHAT? I google the phrase to find out it's the common update for people who are medically qualified- yippy!!
  • August 9th, 2010: E-mail from Assessment and Placement telling me I've been medically qualified and will be assessed in the next couple of weeks for placement! The e-mail requests an updated resume, experience and transcript. I send it all the very same day.
  • August 10, 2010: I can't stand the pressure. I call Placement to be nosy about my application. Go figure my PO (placement officer) is out of the office until next week. I asked the nice lady what the liklihood was of me still getting into the program I was nominated for even though my close of invitation date is a weekish away. That's when she drops the bombs. My program is full. But, there is still hope. Some Ocotober programs are still open, so she says she will talk to my PO about it. She says to call back late the next week. So, I shall.
  • August 24th, 2010: I get a call from my PO. She wants to ask me a few questions. I answer as best I can think how, having not been prepared :( She tells me I am now being considered for placement in the Pacific Islands departing in October!!!